Getting Real About Sun Protection

Our understanding of the sun has dramatically changed through the generations. It really wasn’t that long ago that people were lined up at the beach and on their lawns slathered in baby oil baking their skin like a Christmas turkey. Although most of us know how damaging that is to our skin, there are still some commonly held misconceptions about our skin and the sun.

For example, getting a “foundation tan” early in the season is not actually doing anything to protect your skin. Yes, you may be less likely to burn, but you’re still causing unsuspecting damage to your skin. And despite the volumes of extensive research on the subject, many people still believe tanning beds to be a safe option; we apologize, folks, but they are not good for your skin.

Let’s Talk Facts for a Moment

The sun is different now than it was 60+ years ago. The reality is that due to a number of contributing factors, ultra violet radiation (UVR) is higher than ever. And as Rene of Dermaviduals explains, both tanning and sunburn cause aging, and BOTH can cause skin cancer.

Part of your skin’s makeup includes melanocytes, which are the little cells responsible for making pigment (the pigment is what helps you tan). What’s unique about melanocytes is that unlike your other skin cells, they have limited ability to regenerate and no stem cell resource. This means that once the melanocytes you received at birth are damaged or destroyed, they’re done. There’s no resource in your body to create new cells and replace or repair old ones.

This means that, regardless of your skin type or your current level of “tan”, sun protection is extremely important. Not only does it slow down the aging process, it helps prevent skin cancer. And it just so happens that May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer than all other cancers combined every year, and 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. And the same stats ring true for us north of the border. So now you can see why sun protection is incredibly important.

How do I protect my skin?

So what are some ways that you can better protect your skin?

  • Avoid midday sun when the UV rays are the strongest
  • Keep an eye to the UV index and avoid going outside when they’re high
  • Seek out shade as much as possible
  • Cover up or wear protective clothing
  • Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps—The World Health Organization has designated tanning beds as carcinogenic to humans. Tanning beds blast you with UV rays that can be up to 14 times higher than that of midday sun, and even one-time use of a tanning bed increases your risk of melanoma by 15%.
  • Use sunscreen—The most protective sunscreens are broad spectrum and a minimum of SPF 30.
  • Early detection—Regularly checking your entire body for abnormalities increases the chances of early detection and positive outcomes. Watch for moles and marks that are asymmetrical and/or evolving or changing over time, and/or have uneven borders, multiple colours, and a diameter larger than a pencil eraser.

What sunscreen should I use?

When it comes to sunscreen, the market is flooded with options and it can feel overwhelming to pick one. Here at Zen, we tend to prefer less chemicals and more natural, but just as effective, options.

Our top-selling sunscreen is the Sport Shield SPF 45. It is both a moisturizer and sunscreen so along with UV protection, your skin will be replenished with vitamins and antioxidants, as well as anti-aging ingredients. We also carry Sport Shield Extreme SPF 55, and both the 45 and 55 are sweat and water-resistant, meaning you don’t need to re-apply as frequently.

Other sunscreen options available at Zen include:

  • Natural Defense SPF 25—A combination antioxidant moisturizer with sun protection contains a unique blend of rich botanicals and plant-based sun protectors.
  • Prana SpaCeuticals Purifying Day Lotion SPF 30—Excellent moisturizer for oily and blemished skin types. Offers natural healing and anti-inflammatory ingredients to soothe irritated skin while protecting against harmful rays.
  • Clear Choice Sun Shield SPF 30—A lightly tinted cream that’s recommended for oily/acne skin types, as well as rosacea. Along with providing protection, it helps control future breakouts and over active sebaceous glands.
  • Reflect SPF 45—Get a hint of tint with your sun protection. It conceals blemishes, dark circles, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone while nourishing, restoring, and protecting your skin.
  • Reishi Mushroom Shield SPF 45—A combination sunblock and lightweight moisturizer great for daily use. With ingredients like organic plant stem cell mushrooms and micronized zinc, receive protection from the sun’s rays while reducing redness and inflammation and recovering your skin’s immunity.
  • Dermavidual Day Creams SPF 50, 30, and 15—These day creams are packed with high-quality and natural skin care ingredients along with highly-dosed UV filters. They are an especially awesome option for those with sensitive skin.

Sunscreen Use Tips

Don’t skimp on the sunscreen! In order to get the full protection of the labeled SPF, you need to apply a sufficient amount of sunscreen. Using only a small amount means less protection. It should leave a film when initially applied.

Put it on early. Sunscreen offers the most protection when you apply it 30 minutes before sun exposure.

Reapply regularly. It’s recommended that you reapply sunscreen every two hours or sooner if you’ve been swimming or sweating heavily.

Apply it after moisturizers and before makeup.

Come Talk to Us

We carry all of the sunscreens listed above and would be happy to answer your questions and help you pick out the product best-suited for you. And you may want to consider coming in for an advanced skin care analysis with Shawna in order to assess your skin health and receive suggestions to improve your overall skin health, address your concerns, and meet your goals.

Your skin health matters to us and we want you to remain Zen as long as possible!


Skin Protection – A Necessity in the Modern Day.” Dermaviduals. Accessed May 15, 2019.

Skin Cancer Foundation. Accessed May 15, 2019.

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